Maryland vs. Wake Forest: Maryland has lost two of three games since upsetting Duke. Now they’ll travel to Winston-Salem to face a Wake Forest team that upset Miami at home last weekend.
The Demon Deacons are 5-10 in ACC play, but all five wins have come in Lawrence Joel Coliseum, where they are 5-2. With wins against Virginia, NC State, and now Miami in the building, there’s no reason to believe they can’t add Maryland to that list.
When these two teams met on February 2 in College Park, the Terrapins blasted Wake Forest to the tune of an 86-60 final score. In that contest, Maryland shot an absurd 67.3% from the floor, including 11-of-16 beyond the arc. It’s doubtful Maryland can repeat that performance, especially on the road, so Saturday’s rematch should be closer.
Miami vs. Duke: This rematch is one people have had circled on calendars since January 23: Miami and Duke, in Cameron Indoor Stadium
Duke will be entering the game Saturday with a loss to Virginia last night in the rear view mirror. The Blue Devils have not lost a home game following a loss since a four-game losing skid in 2007, so recent history favors Duke in this contest. Of course, Miami’s success has been a slap in the face to history all season.
Speaking of history: Duke hasn’t lost at home this season. However, they lost three games in Durham last year. One of those three was an overtime loss to Miami, in which Reggie Johnson had 27 points. Johnson was just returning from injury in the Miami-Duke January game, so he could have a much larger impact in Saturday’s contest.
Clemson vs. Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech, losers of ten of their last eleven games, will host Clemson, losers of six of their last seven games, Saturday.
C.J. Barksdale has played well for the Hokies of late, recording at least 12 points and 7 rebounds in each of his last three games. We’ve said all year that Erick Green desperately needs help for Virginia Tech to have a chance to win, and now it is starting to come consistently from Barksdale. If the 6’8” sophomore can hang with senior Devin Booker (coming off 25 points in a loss to North Carolina), that could be a fun battle to watch.
When these two teams met in Clemson, Booker was a non-factor, scoring only three points. However, Milton Jennings outdueled Erick Green, scoring 28 points and not coming close to that mark since. The Tigers also had 19 points from Damarcus Harrison, who hasn’t had another double-digit effort in ACC play.
Florida State vs. North Carolina: The Tar Heels, winners of four straight, will host the Seminoles in their penultimate home game.
In the game in Tallahassee, North Carolina defeated Florida State 77-72. The Tar Heels had 19 offensive rebounds in that game, while the ‘Noles only had 19 rebounds total. Rebounding has been a huge problem for Florida State throughout the season, and it could be something UNC is able to thrive on Sunday.
Neither of these teams have been strong perimeter defenders, either. With players like Michael Snaer, Ian Miller, P.J. Hairston, Reggie Bullock, and Leslie McDonald on the floor, it will likely be raining threes in Chapel Hill. In the January meeting, Hairston scored 23 points off the bench, and the two teams combined to make 19 of 42 three-pointers. If Florida State can get hot from beyond the arc, perhaps they can overcome a rebounding disadvantage and escape with a road win.
Virginia vs. Boston College: Virginia, coming off a big win against Duke, will try to keep the momentum building by knocking off Boston College in Conte Forum.
This will be the Eagles’ first home game since February 19. In that game, they defeated Maryland 69-58. Their other home wins have been against Clemson and Wake Forest, so Boston College could struggle with the Cavaliers.
Virginia’s Joe Harris had a career night Thursday against Duke, scoring 36 points in the win over the Blue Devils. Harris has been on a tear, scoring at least 20 points in six of the Cavs’ last nine games. The last time a team held Harris to single-digits? January 26, by none other than Boston College.
NC State vs. Georgia Tech: NC State, favored to win the ACC before the season, find themselves fifth in the conference and cannot afford a loss to Georgia Tech if they hope to avoid a Thursday game in the ACC Tournament.
On January 9 (which seems like an eternity ago, no?) NC State defeated the Yellow Jackets 83-70 in Raleigh. In that game, Lorenzo Brown and Scott Wood both scored 20+ points, and C.J. Leslie added another 19. Brown has struggled since injuring his ankle against Virginia, and Leslie hasn’t been much better for the Wolfpack in their last two games. NC State needs their key players to return to form to have any hope of finishing the season strong.
Georgia Tech may be just the opponent the Wolfpack needs to get back on track. The Yellow Jackets have only broken the 60 point barrier once in their last five games, while NC State has scored 60 in all but three ACC games this season. Even if NC State faces some offensive struggles, the Jackets will have to prove they can take advantage of it to make it worthwhile.